The construction of Aboriginality in Australia has been achieved through a variety of processes, in various places and at various levels of society, giving rise to a complex interaction between the constructions. At the local level, the most striking line of tension may seem to lie between what Aboriginal people say about themselves and what others say about them. But crosscutting this is another field of tension between the ideas of Aboriginality (and non-Aboriginality) that people of all kinds construct and reproduce for themselves, and the constructions produced at the national level by the state in its various manifestations, the mass media, science, the arts and so on (Beckett, 1988).
The identity of Australia as a place comes from both its physical features and the atmosphere, which is often created by its physical appearance. Three artists who have depicted the Australian landscape in different styles are Arthur Streeton, John Olsen and Sally Morgan. Streeton’s works are in a realistic but lively style typical of the Heidelberg school. He was intent on recreating the light and warmth of the land. Olsen and Morgan’s works, on the other hand, offer more abstract interpretations of the land. During the 1960s and 1970s, Olsen captured the essence and the energy of the landscape with his bold and bright brushwork whilst Morgan’s work from the 1980s portrays Australia from an indigenous perspective, which she achieves through her use of Aboriginal symbolism and cultural imagery.
Australia is a young, modern country made up of a diverse and multicultural population, therefore, it’s difficult to say that it has a single national identity. This essay will examine what Australia’s identity may look like, specifically, through art.
The Australian Indigenous community hold extremely significant corrections to the land of Australia, of which they refer to as ‘Country.’ Indigenous people acquire deep meaning from the land, sea and the countless resources derived from them. This special relationship has formed for many centuries. To them ‘Country’ is paramount for overall wellbeing; the strong, significant, spiritual bonds embody their entire existence. Knowledge is continually passed down to create an unbroken connection of past,
Throughout Australian history, Aboriginal people have been displaced and mistreated through the course of time, through the separation from their from kinship groups, land and the stolen generation. This has resulted in the connection to their dreaming lost, misconnection and loss of their sacred sites and traditional food from their land. As a consequence of the stolen generation, many aboriginal children were deprived of their parents, families, spirituality, language from their land and their cultural identity. All of these aspects contribute to the continuing effect of dispossession on Aboriginal spiritualities.
The traditional aboriginal art depicts places, events and dreaming ancestors, also incorporating actual events, whereas the temporary was only for initiation ceremonies and funerals. The aboriginal art opens up ways of communicating the close relationship between the ancestral beings and the laws, views, values, ceremonies and obligations of the people. They enable understanding and knowledge within a community and also partcially the outside world.
Aboriginal art in Australia is both beautiful and meaningful. According to Perkins, Hetti and West (2007) Aboriginal art allows for reconciliation of the events of the past two centuries’ that is used as inspiration for their work. Whilst researching the Indigenous cultural heritage of Mount Barker, Western Australia I came across a well know Noongar artist from the region, Charlie Colbung. Colbung was born in Mount Barker in 1970 and still resides in the South West region where he is an Indigenous health worker as well as an Indigenous programs officer for the Great Southern TAFE (Design and Art Australia, n.d.). There are two prominent themes in Aboriginal art consisting of both country such as the land and kinship, the people (Perkins, Hetti
As a 3rd year Anthropology and Sociology student I could not pass up the opportunity to learn more about the relationships between the Federal and State governments and the ongoing battle for recognition and protection of the cultural heritage of Indigenous Australians. From January to February of 2017 I undertook a 5-week Aurora Internship with the North Queensland Land Council (NQLC) based in the Townsville office, and although I have spent over half my life in North Queensland and have a broad knowledge base of Indigenous Australia throughout my travels around the country, friends, family, and my studies, I was not overly familiar with the field of Native Title. I had of course heard of Native title but mostly in short seditious media references
Aborigines are believed to have lived in Australia for between 60,000 and 40,000 years, their early ancestors coming from South-East Asia. Precise population details for the period before European colonisation are unavailable, but it is estimated that there were between 300,000 and 1,000,000 Aborigines in Australia when European settlers first arrived in 1788.
An example of this “revolutionary conceptualism” (Ferell, 2012) is observed in Figure 2, a piece of artwork called “The Elders of the Tribe”, by Elizabeth Durack (1953). Overall, the image depicts the elders of a Warlpiri kinship group sitting around a distinctive ground pattern, representing their ancestral origin in Central Australia (Durack, 2015). The wavy and distinctive insignia convey the elders being “swept away by the wind” (Durack, 2015), in addition to the concentric circles, connoting to various spiritual events that occurred at various campsites within the Warlpiri community. Moreover, Durack (2015) further explains that the artwork represented a “conversion from red and white ochre to acrylic medium”, supporting the artistic transition from traditional Aboriginal ground art to Western-inspired acrylic paintings.
Australia’s Aboriginal Peoples form the longest living culture in the world, they have experienced massive conflicts and suffered many losses. Tjukurpa Kunpa, means ‘Strong Law & Culture,’ and forms part of a collection of paintings that concentrate on political and cultural issues that have resulted from colonisation. The painting outlines the shape of Australia and is decorated with symbols and writings that hold significant meaning to Aboriginal cultures.
Anthropologists in the 20th century have been influential in conditioning on how Aboriginal society was understood and viewed by the general public based on British influenced intellectuals, governments, journalists ,and, the courts. However, there isn’t a theory within Australian anthropology that could helve the growing feud between the indigenous and the intruders. However, questioning any tradition in’t practiced among the predominantly positivist Aboriginalists. Recent attempts to re-examine the relationships between past anthropological practices have aroused defensive reactions, when it actuality it is attempt to gain informed relationship about the sciences and political influences on the wider community.
A holistic and contextual understanding of indigenous communities in Australia alters the nature of research and the perception of history. Clint Bracknell’s article critiques historical research on the arts of Noongar Aboriginal peoples, and argues how song is not only an integral part of their identity but that it is through the insight of this form of communication that researchers comprehend how Noongar have adopted Western traditions but still remained close to their heritage. As a descendant from Noongar, situated in south-west of Australia, he is closely attached to this research, so it is understandable why his purpose is to encourage investigation into the archival records of song from Noongar peoples as to revitalise an indigenous
Native American Art History is a comprehensive legacy of arts comprised of complex as well as unique forms of art developed over years. The “First American” indigenous peoples were extremely skilled people with a deep committed spirituality which was influenced in their crafts and art. Native American art history reveals the spirit of a broad spectrum of diverse and creative
Aboriginals or indigenous Australians are the native people of Australia. Aboriginals were nomadic people who came to Australia about 40,000 – 60,000 years ago from Southeast Asia. Religion is a great part of Aboriginal culture. The essay answers these questions: What do Aboriginals belief? What is a Kinship system? What is Dreaming and Dreamtime? What rituals does Aboriginals have?